Hey there, this is Teacher Ola Podcast episode 114. Learn English With The Kid Laroi, Justin Bieber ‘Stay’

My name’s Ola and I am an online English teacher, I teach through one to one classes and I want you to know I believe you can eliminate your language blockade. I’ve overcome a massive blockade myself and I know how to do it. This podcast is for you if you’re an English learner who wants to speak English with more confidence and get rid of speaking barriers. You’ll boost your vocabulary, brush up your grammar, and improve your pronunciation.  Go to my website for full transcripts and worksheets to each episode. Happy learning!

Hey there, welcome back to the Teacher Ola Podcast. We’ve met here today to detangle the lyrics of a song that has gone viral on TikTok and at the same time is tricky to get since pronunciation and grammar are I’d say advanced. It requires a really good grasp of the language to get everything after the first listening. 

We’re gonna have some song facts later we’ll jump right into the lyrics. I’ll read out each line of a particular verse and you’ll get enough time to repeat the line after me. After each segment, we’ll have a break to get the essence of the most important things in the song. TOPeople know what it means. It means getting as many functional practical phrases as we can. We’ll squeeze these lyrics, leave unimportant stuff behind and take those natural, useful expressions with us. At the end of this episode, you’re gonna hear 15 sentences that employ those essential phrases. You’ll see these vocabulary elements in completely different sentences, yet those new sentences, and you can trust me, are useful, contemporary and there’s a huge probability that one day, sooner or later you’ll use them. Fluently, confidently and fearlessly. 

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This is a love song. But it’s different. They take the roundabout approach, by expressing just how messed up they feel when they can’t be with their partners.

And that is why they are begging them to “stay”.While the song has an upbeat sound and is energetic, the lyrics are rather heartbreaking.

The song is like a broken record because he has promised the same thing a hundred times, that he will be better. He promised her that he would change and he knew that he was lying. But she was the one thing that helped him stay on course. The relationship fell apart and he is a mess. 

Bieber really liked the melody. Laroi Siad: “Every time I would see him he’d be like ‘yo this ‘Stay’ song is special man, this song is special,’’. “Eventually I just pulled up on him in the studio with the files and was like ‘hey man, ready to record?'”

The Biebs (Justin Bieber) stepped into the booth and freestyled some rhymes. Bieber questioned whether what he was coming up with was any good, but Laroi urged him to keep going and was excited about the end result.

When “Stay” climbed to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, The Kid Laroi became just the second Australian solo male artist to top the chart, following Rick Springfield’s 1981 hit, “Jessie’s Girl.” Sia was the last Australian act to reach #1 with 2014’s “Chandelier.” I have an episode on ‘Chandelier’, it’s episode 11, check that one out. 

Time to take on the lyrics. Listen and repeat.

I do the same thing I told you that I never would

I told you I’d change, even when I knew I never could

Know that I can’t find nobody else as good as you

I need you to stay, need you to stay

I do the same thing I told you that I never would – I do the same thing. I can’t change myself, this is me. Present simple tense for a thing that is constant, always true. I do the same thing. The problem seems to be different. Some time ago I told you that I would not do it anymore. My exact words were: ‘I will never do it again’. Today, I’m reporting these words, so, yeah, it’s reported speech. 

That means I have to change the tense. Will becomes ‘would’. I told you I would help you. I told you I wouldn’t do it. The negation here is a bit different because he uses the word ‘never’ and this acts as our ‘not’. I told you I would never do these things. But I still do them. 

I told you I’d change – here, the same. I told you that I’d change. I told you that I would change. The word ‘that’ in the lyrics is in fact omitted which is totally fine. I told you I’d never change. So what were my original words? What did his promise sound like? Back then he said: ‘I will change. Yet again we’ve gotta change will to ‘would’. That’s what’s happening here. I told you  I’d change. 

I knew I never could – yeah, that’s the thing. When he promised that, he already knew he couldn’t keep the promise. His exact thoughts at that time were: I can’t. But instead of ‘not’ today, he makes the sentence negative using ‘never’. We normally don’t make double negations like in Polish so after ‘never the verb is in affirmative. Additionally, since it’s reported speech again, even if you report your own thoughts, reported speech does apply here. 

So, since it’s reported speech, we have to change ‘can’ into ‘could’ and that’s why we end up with I knew I never could. Two first phrases are really interesting grammar wise so let’s have them yet again:

I do the same thing I told you that I never would

I told you I’d change, even when I knew I never could

I can’t find – Where is ‘t’? Why it’s not pronounced? Should be /kænt/, right? Or it might be /kɑːnt/ in the British pronunciation. How come we hear no ‘t’ in this song. Well, it’s actually very very common to drop the ‘t’ in ‘can’t’ and instead pronounce this word with a so-called ‘stop t’. There’s just air. I can’t even explain it well. I can’t even. Pronouncing ‘t’ is in fact rare for American speakers of English. 

Check it for yourself and find how different speakers pronounce ‘can’t’ in youglish. I must admit I got confused on this one because when I listened to the song for the first time I thought he sings ‘Know that I cave’. To cave, to cave in, to finally do what somebody wants after you have been strongly opposing them. I didn’t want to go there but my friends talked me into going there and I caved in. Cave. That’s what I thought. It’s tricky. 

Know that I can’t find nobody else as good as you. I can’t find, I can’t find. It’s beautifully linked. 

As good as you – as good as you. As white as snow. As pretty as a picture. As big as a house. We use as + adjective or adverb + as to make comparisons when the things are equal in some way. The weather this summer is as beautiful as last year. Try to go there as quietly as you can. 

I need you – I need you to stay. Need you. Need you. Can you hear this /dʒ/ sound? This phenomenon so to speak in pronunciation is called assimilation, and I encourage you to listen to episode 57 and more importantly, practice pronouncing this sound. It’s very common and causes confusion and we’re not like sure how to pronounce these combinations and we feel self-conscious. Meet you, did you are examples of this assimilation. Tune in to episode 57 and become confident on this one.

Let’s listen to and repeat the next verse:

I get drunk, wake up, I’m wasted still

I realize the time that I wasted here

I feel like you can’t feel the way I feel

Oh, I’ll be fucked up if you can’t be right here

I get drunk, wake up, I’m wasted still – to get drunk. ‘Drunk’ is the past participle form of the verb ‘drink’. I know at school you learned only how to write irregular verbs: drink, drank, drunk. But time to fix it. It’s drink, drank, drunk. He’s drunk, she’s drunk. 

Secondly, I’m wasted. To be wasted – to be very drunk. Look at them, they’re wasted. It’s a slang word. 

I realize the time that I wasted here – time I wasted – the same word, different collocation and a different meaning. To waste time to not make good use or full use of time. 

I’ll be fucked up if you can’t be right here – I’ll be fucked up. The episode about the word ‘fuck’ is in order, for sure. But for now, the meaning of ‘to be fucked up’. Two meanings, both slang and both offensive, the first: thoroughly confused, disordered, or damaged. 

Upset to such a degree you can’t deal with problems anymore. The second meaning of ‘fucked up’: intoxicated from drugs or alcohol.

If you can’t be right here – can’t be. It’s again the ‘stop t’. ‘Can’t be’ changes into ‘can’t be’. And this is a common way of pronouncing this work. 

Let’s proceed. Listen and repeat:

When I’m away from you, I miss your touch

You’re the reason I believe in love

It’s been difficult for me to trust 

And I’m afraid that I’ma fuck it up

You’re the reason I believe in love – the reason why I believe in love. This ‘why’ is omitted here, that’s fine, You’re the reason I believe in love. Some other examples: This is the reason she decided to get married. He’s the reason I promised to arrive. Traditionally, let me remind you of the pronunciation of the word ‘love’, yes, it’s the /a/ sound. Love. 

It’s been difficult for me to trust – present perfect because it’s not past yet. I still feel the same way. It has been difficult, it’s been difficult. 

And I’m afraid that I’ma fuck it up  – to fuck up something means to do something badly or make a bad mistake. You’ve really fucked up this time! He is afraid he’s going to fuck it up. This I’ma, it’s spelt I’ma, I’ma I’m afraid I’ma fuck it up. I’ma is short for I’m going to. I’ma read for just a little bit. 

My dear, we’ve arrived at the last verse of the song. Listen and repeat:

Ain’t no way that I can leave you stranded

‘Cause you ain’t ever left me empty-handed

And you know that I know that I can’t live without you

So, baby, stay

Ain’t no way that I can leave you stranded –  Ain’t is a word that means is not, are not, has not, have not. We’ve talked about this word in other songs explaining episodes, so let’s move on to another phrase. 

To leave someone stranded. To strand. To strand somebody means to leave somebody in a place from which they have no way of leaving.  

The storm left tourists stranded at the airport. To abandon someone. Stranded involves being left somewhere unpleasant, remote, or inconvenient. 

‘Cause you ain’t ever left me empty-handed – empty-handed. Without getting what you wanted, or without taking something to somebody. The robbers fled empty-handed. She visited every Sunday and never arrived empty-handed. To return from negotiations empty-handed. 

That’s all when it comes to song lyrics. Let’s now focus on the practical part and you repeating the sentences out loud. It’s very different from repeating the lyrics. Now, you’re gonna see those same phrases in everyday, useful sentences. 

I told you I would never do these things.

He told me he would help us.

I told you I’d do it on my own!

Who told you I could do that?

I can’t find the keys.

I can’t even explain it.

The weather this summer is as bad as last year. 

I was hoping to meet you!

Look at them, they’re wasted.

I hate to see good food go to waste.

It was my fault — I fucked up.

It’s been difficult for me to decide. 

Passengers were left stranded at the airport because of poor weather conditions.

We can’t go to the party empty-handed.

Awesome work! But, that’s not the end of your work for this week. Go to your inbox and grab the worksheet. If you’re not a member of TOPeople, download it from teacherola.com/114. Being a member of TOPeople is free and beneficial because every week I send an email with exclusive content along with a fresh worksheet. 

That’s It! That’s all I have. I hope you liked the episode, if you did, as always, please leave your rating in iTunes if you can.  Share, comment, like, do whatever you can to help this podcast stay afloat! Tell someone about this podcast and help me spread the message.

Be here next Wednesday, same time, same place we’ll talk about vocabulary. We’ll look at the vocabulary connected with coffee. Thanks for listening,  take care. Happy learning. Stay fearless and say it out loud. Bye-bye!